Monthly Archives: January 2015

HMO Hitmen: The Dehumanization of Human Services

I re-blogged this post a few hours ago from one of my favorite sites, takingthemaskoff . This gentleman works in the mental health field and is familiar with the consequences of addictions – first hand – and from both ends of the spectrum.

Being a chronic pain sufferer myself, I was on the Fentanyl patch for over two and a half years after coming out of stroke rehab. I was always afraid of addiction, so I was careful about changing my patch; in fact, I would change it LATER than I was supposed to thinking it would help. Then I noticed I would start getting irritable and moody around the third day. At first I thought it was just my depression kicking in again, but then I realized that my body was craving more of the Fentanyl.

I wasn’t having it, so I stopped – cold turkey over the Thanksgiving holiday. Being an EMT before my bleed, I knew what to expect, so I monitored myself and knew who to call if I couldn’t handle it. It was rough going to say the least. But I got through it, and when I went to my rehab doctor a few weeks later, I told him what I’d done. I expressed my desire to stop seeing my pain management doctor and find alternative methods of pain management. Although he wasn’t fond of how I chose to get off the patch, he understood why.

He then prescribed me a low dose of a patch called Butrans. It’s changed weekly, but unfortunately very expensive…even with insurance. The cost for me skyrocketed from December to January because of the new year and changes with my pharmacy policy. Whereas 4 patches of Butrans (a month supply) runs me $100, a month supply of Fentanyl (10 patches) cost me only $5.00!!

This is why I can so closely relate to this post. It shows how we are not considered living, breathing, and suffering individuals by these big corporations — we are just dollar signs. Now I know why it’s just easier to stay on prescription narcotics – they’re cheap and probably the only thing that many can afford. I’m doing everything in my power to find other alternative forms of pain management including meditation and increased exercise. I’m also going to see if seeing a chiropractor for my back and neck problems would help.

I value takingthemaskoff‘s opinions, his dedication, the time he puts into research, his care, compassion, and empathy for others. This post is a must read. Feel free to help spread the word, and I would encourage anyone with pain management, mental health, or addiction issues to visit and follow his blog.

Redefining Disability Challenge – Post 5

Hello blogger friends and welcome. Here is another post for the redfng-disblty2Redefining Disability Challenge started by Rose B. Fischer. If you click on the image to the left, you can see exactly what it’s all about and feel free to join. Answer as many of the 52 questions as you like, or the ones that pertain to you. There is no time limit. Answer them in one post, one a day, a week, or whatever fits your needs.

I’m going to spread the questions out over the remainder of the year since a lot of the questions pertain to me already. For today’s post I’m going to answer question(s) nine .

  1. Are your leisure activities or hobbies affected by disability? How do you work around this? My leisure activities and hobbies are definitely affected by my brain hemorrhage/stroke. My favorite things to do have always been cooking, writing, crafting, photography, gardening, driving long distances, and attending concerts/sporting events.

I can’t cook the way I used to because I have a difficult time focusing. I tend to walk away from the stove because I think of something else that needs to be done and forget the food. My left side was always my strong side (being a leftie), so strength is also an issue. I work around it by eating a lot of instant oatmeal, Ensure dietary supplements, cereals, and occasional microwaveable meals. Sometimes I’ll practice cooking a ‘real’ meal if there is someone with me to help, like my daughter, or a friend.

I’m still not cleared to drive, so that’s out the window completely for now. I’m going to talk to my neurologist Dr. H soon to see if she will clear me so I can at least practice drive. I haven’t had a seizure of any kind since July, 2014. Unfortunately, there’s no way of getting around that; I have my neighbor and friend take me to my appointments and run errands. Worst case scenario I can take the disabled bus service with 48 hours notice or cab it.

Real gardening is out for me because of the bending involved. It would be too painful for me. I work around that by having myself a little windowsill herb garden and some green plants at home. I can work on them standing up and a little at a time. As long as I have them, I’m happy. Doesn’t take much. 🙂

The crafting and photography I’m still trying to work on, but it’s difficult because of the tremors I get on my left arm/hand. While my little projects have gotten better, they still need a lot of work. Let’s just say I wouldn’t give them as gifts. Lol. My pictures are definitely getting better.

I haven’t attended any concerts or sporting events since before my illness. I’m looking forward to doing it one day soon, although I know it could be dangerous for me. In crowded places, people tend to bump into each other and I have no way of steadying myself because of my deficits. It’s difficult, almost impossible for me to make a turn if someone bumps into me. I have no way to steady myself. Unfortunately, the way I’ve worked around it, is by avoiding the situation. I went to a fundraiser in October and came very close to face planting because some one decided it was okay to whiz past me (clearly seeing I had difficulty walking). Thank goodness someone next to me helped steady me.

My writing was the first thing I went back to when I was well enough to do so. My once beautiful handwriting is now unsteady. I can only write pen to paper for a few minutes at a time before it becomes illegible. I’m still working on it, though. It will get there. I work around it by using my computer and typing. It’s what has helped me work on some of my cognitive skills. Even though I have to go through my work over and over again, I pay closer attention to details, which helps with my focus, memory, and attention.

That’s all I have for this post. I’ll be answering another question regarding the Redefining Disability Challenge soon. Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things – January 22, 2015

Hey everyone! It’s Friday again and time for another posting of Celebrate the Small Things brought to us by LEXA CAINPost anything in life that you’re celebrating, no matter how small or big, on your blog.

Sign up by clicking on the image, hop around and celebrate with others. Make Celebrate the Small Thingssure your blog post has a link to the sign-up as well, so other bloggers will be able to sign-up and hop around too.  This is such a simple and easy blog-hop, and it also happens to be one of my favorites.  After posting the things you have to celebrate, please don’t forget to visit and thank Lexa’s awesome and amazing co-hosts for the wonderful job they do:

LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom

It’s been a rough and tumble week, but I’m still celebrating it! My pain level has been high most of the week. My low level patch that my rehab doctor has me on in place of the Fentanyl I took myself off of had to be ordered, so I’ve been taking my muscle relaxers and over the counter pain meds. I’ve been working hard at PT and I know that’s been adding to my pain and soreness.

My daughter Mandy came to spend the weekend with me and THAT was worth everything to me. 😀 She’s a newly licensed driver and I got to see her drive me around to do my errands for the first time EVER! I am so proud of her

We exchanged our Christmas presents and I got a Chromecast, so I can stream Netflix, Hulu, my Prime videos, etc. all on my TV! I am stoked! Mandy loved her gifts.

I made her dinner Saturday night while she babysat me and helped me with the things I couldn’t do by myself (like drain the ground meat without dropping everything all over).  😀

I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve been on course so far with everything I said I was going to accomplish for this year, aside from one or two things that were beyond my control, and those don’t count. 

I’m celebrating the fact that I’m still here, blessed with some very special people in my life.

What have you celebrated this week?

 

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things – January 16, 2015

Hey everyone! It’s Friday again and time for another posting of Celebrate the Small Things brought to us by LEXA CAINPost anything in life that you’re celebrating, no matter how small or big, on your blog.

Sign up by clicking on the image, hop around and celebrate with others. Make Celebrate the Small Thingssure your blog post has a link to the sign-up as well, so other bloggers will be able to sign-up and hop around too.  This is such a simple and easy blog-hop, and it also happens to be one of my favorites.  After posting the things you have to celebrate, please don’t forget to visit and thank Lexa’s awesome and amazing co-hosts for the wonderful job they do:

LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom

This week was a successful one. I accomplished everything I set out to do and more. I made both physical therapy  and Dr. D’s (my neuro-psychologist) appointments this week.

In three visits Leslie, my physical therapist at Marshalls Creek Physical Therapy has already increased weight slightly for my lower extremity exercises. She also added the treadmill to my sessions today. That was stressful; I felt like I did when I first came out of inpatient rehab. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack; thankfully I didn’t. I was supposed to do 10 minutes, but only made 7:23 before my leg started to drag. Neuropathic pain sucks. Just sayin’. At least I was close; I’ll take it.

I’ve made next weeks PT appointments and confirmed my appointments for Dr. K (rehab) and Dr. M (psychiatrist).  I published a couple more posts than I’d planned and have some queued for the next few weeks. I haven’t been this organized in a very long time!

I’m celebrating having completed two book reviews and working on a third, and I’ve been a bit more active on my social media lately.

What I’m celebrating the most is the fact that I’m still here, blessed with some very special people in my life.

What have you celebrated this week?

 

 

 

Defining Disability Challenge – Post 4

Hello blogger friends and welcome. This another post for the redfng-disblty2Redefining Disability Challenge started by Rose B. Fischer. If you click on the image to the left, you can see exactly what it’s all about and feel free to join. Answer as many of the 52 questions as you like, or the ones that pertain to you. There is no time limit. Answer them in one post, one a day, a week, or whatever fits your needs.

I’m going to spread the questions out over the first half of this year since I started them in 2014. For today’s post I’m going to answer question six, seven and eight.

6.  Are your activities of daily living affected by disability?  If you’re comfortable, share a little of your daily routine.

I suppose if my activities of daily living (ADL) weren’t affected by my stroke in some way, I wouldn’t be considered disabled, would I? I know that came out a bit snarky, and I don’t really mean it to — actually, yeah, I do, but I don’t get the question. Of course my daily living is affected. The most important are my residual cognitive (focus, memory, attention) issues. To me, anyway. Then, of course, there are my physical limitations.

I have to make sure that I remember to take my meds on time in the morning and in the evening. I don’t usually have a great appetite, so I have to make sure I put something in my stomach at least three or four times a day. Worst case scenario, I’ll drink an Ensure.

I work on stretching my body throughout the day. I have to be very careful because my gait is still off and I have difficulty with making turns. Then there’s that whole space/distance thing that throws me off sometimes. It’s mild, but there. For a short time recently I had to use my shower chair again because I was so weak, I was worried about possibly falling. I still have to work on my coordination skills, although they’re 100x better than they were three years ago.

I’m also responsible for Sophie (my Lhasa Apso), so that means I have to make sure she is fed three times a day; one time hard/soft food mixed and twice hard food only. And my two goldfish. 🙂 Taking care of them makes me feel useful, like I’m actually needed by someone.

I’m almost at my six month mark of not having any seizures, so I’m going to speak to my neurologist, Dr. H about being cleared to drive again. Although I know I won’t be able to go it alone for quite a while, I’d like to be able to practice drive at least. I long for the feeling of independence again.

7.  Is your work or school life affected by disability? Describe some of these challenges.

I’ve been out of school for years so that doesn’t affect my disability. I’ve taken a couple of free on-line courses from Coursera and Open University. The good thing about them is that I can go at my own pace.

One of my goals is to get well enough to return to work one day, even if it’s only on a part-time basis. I was making great progress until I was blindsided by my former employer. That’s another long story.

8.  Is your family life affected by disability? In what ways?

It’s not affected too much. I live alone now. My relationship with my ex-partner was basically over before I got ill and became disabled. I give my heartfelt thanks for being by my side during the worst of it, but during my recovery years, things became increasingly difficult. I didn’t have much in the way of positive support, and eventually we finally moved on.

My daughter helps me as much as she can, as do my closest friends. I have a neighbor that I have grown close to who has become a godsend to me. She helps me with so many things. She takes me shopping, to doctor appointments, helps me with laundry, brings me food sometimes, and even helped me with my Christmas tree and wrapping. 🙂 I consider her an extension of my family now.

When I was first struggling with recovery and had nowhere to turn, I found much of my support online. By doing so, I formed many true and valuable friendships that I will treasure always. I’ve even been blessed enough to meet one in person. My goal is to meet as many of them as I can.

That’s about all I have for today’s post. I’ll be publishing another post again soon. Until next time, have a great day and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate the Small Things – Jan 9, 2015 Physical Therapy

Hello blogger friends. It’s Friday January 9, 2015,  and time for the Celebrate the Small Things meme brought to us by LEXA CAINCongratulations are in order for her as she is taking over as the new host of this amazing blog hop. I’m definitely celebrating that! Viklit started this hop about two years ago and it has become one of my favorites. Thank you so much for bringing this baby into the world! Of course, she will still be celebrating with us; she just needed to step down from her hosting position. Make sure you pay her a visit and thank her as well!

Post anything in life that you’re celebrating, no matter how small or big, on your blog. Sign up by clicking on the image, Celebrate the Small Thingshop around and celebrate with others. Make sure your blog post has a link to the sign-up as well, so other bloggers will be able to sign-up and hop around too. Diana Wilder and CafeMaggiatto have retired their posts as co-hosts, so make sure you stop by their blogs and thank them for everything they’ve done for the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop too!

After posting the things you have to celebrate, please don’t forget to visit and thank Lexa’s awesome and amazing co-hosts for the wonderful job they do:

LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom

This week I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve started my first Physical Therapy sessions in over two years! Hallelujah! My first day Wednesday was mostly paperwork and measurements, but at least I went to the same therapy place – Marshalls Creek Physical Therapy – and I have my same physical therapist, Leslie! Squee!

Thursday was another story. Leslie challenged me; I worked out hard core. I had to work the bike for 15 min for leg circulation/neuropathy (with heat to my back because I was in so much pain), ‘circuit’ training for my lower extremities and core, pulleys for my upper extremities, range of motion (which she did for me) of my left arm/shoulder, and finally heat to my shoulder (ahhhh).

Tamera waited for me until I was done and then took me to Walmart to pick up my medications and some necessities. I’m never going to stop celebrating the blessing that is her.

I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve been on course so far with everything I said I was going to accomplish for this year. I know it’s only the ninth, but still.   🙂

I’m celebrating the fact that I’m still here, blessed with some very special people in my life.

What have you celebrated this week?

 

 

 

Insecure Writers Support Group – Goals for 2015

Hey fellow bloggers and writers. First, let me say Happy New Year 2015! I hope your holidays were enjoyable. This is not only the first Wednesday of the month, but of the new year. The #IWSG has grown leaps and bounds over the past three years. Yay!!

I’ll introduce myself quickly. My name is Eva Solar and I started this blog last May after suffering some devastating personal losses. In the last two years, four people I knew passed from the same thing I had, a head bleed. All but one were younger than me, and I’m not even 50 yet.

I started blogging about it over at my other blog lilicasplace. Don’t be confused; I used pen names with my writing until I became comfortable with talking about my hemorrhage. Now I just use them mostly for fiction/story writing.  With all that heartache, I realized I needed a place I could devote to jotting down my life post hemorrhage/stroke.  I needed a place I could ‘celebrate the small things’, and offer comfort, advice, and resources to other survivors and their caregivers. That’s when this site was born. Enough about me…

For this month’s post, I’m going to focus on some of my goals for 2015. I’ll be doing the same at my other blog, if you’d like to pay a visit later. 🙂

Click on the Image to Join

Click on the Image to Join

Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh , my hero and one of my mentors, founded this amazing and wonderful group.

The purpose of this group is for writers of any kind to share their doubts and fears, trials and tribulations without fear of being mocked or feeling foolish. It’s also a place where writers who have “been there” can offer wisdom and guidance.

Whenever anyone finishes a draft, edits their work, finds the perfect critique group, publishes their work, or has any other good news to share, this is the place to do it too!

The awesome co-hosts for this posting of the IWSG are Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace!

Make sure you pay them a visit and thank them for all their hard work!

GOALS FOR 2015.

  1. Go to all Physical Therapy appointments ordered by my Rehabilitation doctor, Dr. K
  2. Work extra hard on this Blog-site improvement (research, posting, etc.)
  3. Get more into meditation as an additional method for my Pain Management
  4. Continue my Stroke Awareness and Prevention Advocacy
  5. Get more involved with my local church
  6. Although I’m doing much better, continue to find ways to keep my depression at bay
  7. Continue to take the time to enjoy the little things in life.

Don’t forget to pick of your FREE copy of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond! And yes, before you ask, I AM A CONTRIBUTOR to the Anthology. Woot! Woot!

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Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don’ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

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What are your goals for the New Year? Leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks for visiting. 🙂